How to organise a Play Street

The little ankle biters play on this street almost every non-drenched day. The neighbours know/hear them. During our walks/rides, we recognised other anklebiters/ bobbling mops of hair and feet playing on their minuscule slice of footpath. Imagine uniting all our little slices and little people. Thus a street for play.

Why not.

These folks have been doing it right for some time. Inspired by such creative acts of community, I thought this wedge of asphalt needed a temporary makeover. Nothing fancy, just a closed street so the anklebiters can play TOGETHER. Sure, a few balloons and bubbles to make other passbyers go, “This is a neat street.”

Although low key (chalk, tables, a few chairs), it was grand. The anklebiters never talked to me save to ask if they could have a piece of chocolate (only one) or crisp (no, not the bag, a handful). Neighbours introduced and chatted. Future plans made (bonfire night, community garden, next play street). Granted there was a hiccup at the beginning: the wind knocked down the parasol attached to the table presenting the potluck of snacks. Not the velvet cupcakes. Oh no the vegan pralines! Did my favourite glass bowl just shatter? Not to be deterred, we all hopped back into our respective homes and returned with replacements. People from other neighbourhoods joined in. All children welcomed here.

Interested in starting your own? Give yourself a juicy peach and just say yes. The official process requires

  • Dusting off your social skills and talking to your neighbours (they won’t bite, promise!)
  • Requesting permission from council which may involve, neighbour letters, risk assessment, a street map and an application (7 weeks for approval here!)
  • Distributing flyers/reminders to move vehicles, bring cheer, chairs and something to share
  • Thinking how simple or elaborate you want the hours to unfold. Pentanque? BBQ?
  • And on the day of, check that wind, blow up some balloons and play.



Published by

Vivian Romero

I want to activate the urban imagined: stimulating, healthy and sustainable spaces for all (especially the young and young at heart).

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